12.31.2007

SPREAD THE WORD

A nice piece in the end-of-year Economist about the Bible and the Koran: "The Battle of the Books.". It ends with an interesting point about how Christians can sometimes complain that while Muslims are free to worship, proselytize, and build mosques most everywhere, Christians are often barred from doing the same in certain parts of the world. Ever the free market champion, the article notes that protection from competition has produced weaker "home teams." And this is a true statement.

But another missing element to this point is the role persecution plays in God's economy. He used persecution to push the 1st century church out of its comfort zone and out into the increasingly bigger concentric circles mandated in His original charge (Acts 1:8). He notes that those who are persecuted are blessed (Matthew 5:10-12). He even has a set number of martyrs in mind (Revelation 6:11).

Or take what happened in China after the Communists kicked out all the out-of-town Christians in the mid-20th century. Those Chinese Christians within the borders did what the mostly Western missionaries couldn't: they proclaimed and lived out the Christian faith in distinctly Chinese ways, winning far more converts in the ensuing few decades than the outsiders had won in the centuries beforehand.

So whether or not the playing field is even for the Bible and the Koran to be distributed ought not be of concern to Evangelicals. However tilted the playing field is or isn't, Evangelicals should understand that it is God's field, the harvest plenty, and the laborers sadly few, and do as He says and pray for more laborers - and like those who first heard that command, be ready if we are our own answer to that prayer (Matthew 9:37-38).
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